Delhi’s air is increasingly becoming more polluted and unbreathable. For the last many days the capital was witnessing an “unusual” condition and no quick recovery was predicted from the “severe” air pollution, since the level of air was depleting due to burning of crops and rice stubbles by the farmers in states like Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. Subsequently, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal decided to bring out the bio-composing solution developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute at Pusa and referred to as the “Pusa Decomposer” to address the problem of stubble burning. With this implementation, the state experienced some relief nearly after two weeks of heavy air pollution in the national capital with the AQI reaching the moderate category.
This step has proved to be a success for farmers across North India to get an organic solution to stubble burning. Arvind Kejriwal, said this method has provided a cheap and effective alternative for stubble burning to other states and also urged other states like Punjab and Haryana to implement it and hoped that “this is the last year the national capital would suffer from (air) pollution”, as this step would require quick rotation of crops thus it will help farmers retain the nutrients from crop residue in their fields.
The Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai highlighted “In Delhi, 40% of the pollution happens due to the stubble burning in the neighboring states. This year also, the spike in pollution is due to the massive stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana.”
He added after the bio-decomposer experiment has shown that 90% of the stubble can be converted into manure in about 20 days and how effective this process is, “the central government and the state governments should also implement this method.”
Following a visit to Hiranki village in North West Delhi, where a pilot project was undertaken to check the efficacy of the bio-decomposer, Kejriwal said, “To provide an alternative to stubble burning, the Delhi government has taken a crucial step in association with the PUSA Institute. We had sprayed the bio-decomposer solution on the farmlands across Delhi around October 13, which was developed by the Delhi government under the guidance of the PUSA Institute. Now, the entire stubble has converted into manure and the fields are ready for sowing again.”
The Institute director, Ashok Kumar Singh had revealed that the Pusa Decomposer was “capable of dealing with all kinds of bio-mass” and that the Institute had tied up with eight companies to ramp up the production of the decomposer capsules for mass consumption from next year. He had hoped that with the use of the bio-decomposer, farmers would be able to retain and decompose a portion of the stalk and the roots in the fields and thus add to the nutrition in the soil.
The decomposer is required to be fermented for nearly a week before it is spread in the form of a solution in the fields. Completely organic, it contains strains from fungi, which assist in producing enzymes essential to quicken the decomposition of bio-mass. The solution helps in bringing the decomposition time of shredded and watered paddy straw from around three months to just 25 days.
Now slowly Delhi will experience fewer problems due to this method. As on the other hand, this method enlightens other solutions to the problem as the farmers themselves are very troubled because their families and the villages had to bear the brunt of pollution but following this method, the problem is resolved.
In Delhi, Kejriwal noted that the government took upon itself the responsibility to spray the bio-decomposer solution across farmlands around October 13. “We have sprayed the solution across Delhi in just Rs 20 lakh,” he said, adding that the bio-decomposer has proved its efficacy.
“We would present this alternative in front of the Supreme Court owing to the effectiveness of this alternative. The farmers and the scientists of the PUSA Institute are very satisfied with the output of the solution. No government can make an excuse that they have no alternative or solution to the problem of stubble burning, because a very cheap alternative is available,” he added.
Kejriwal also disclosed how the Union environment minister had told him that Delhi should experiment with the bio-decomposer first before other states could be pressed to use it.
The chief minister also spoke about how he tried to meet the Union minister for a long time but in vain. “He must have been busy, and so I talked to him on the phone. I told him that we might be late in providing this alternative to the farmers, the Centre must try and stop stubble burning as much as they can in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. He said that Delhi may experiment with it first, and based on the efficacy of the alternative, the Centre will then consider implementing it in other states.”